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[Excerpt from the Notes to this album written by Vassily Primakov]
CHOPIN. A Life long Journey…
It is hard to explain my life long attraction to this composer.
It began back in Moscow, Russia. I was ten. The first “big piece” that I tackled with my teacher at the time, Vera Gornostaeva, was the Waltz in E flat Major, Op.18. It was an immense challenge for me. I remember struggling to comprehend what Ms. Gornostaeva was explaining to me – all the nuances of the different sections and the ever so illusive mystery of Chopin’s rubato, his rhythmical gracefulness and so on.
I believe this is when I firmly decided to continue the ongoing search/struggle/affair with this composer.
Since then, I have frequently performed Chopin’s works. Even when my recital programs do not include any of his pieces, I end up playing at least a couple of Mazurkas as encores. There is an emotional and a physical need to have this composer present in my life at all times. That need is driven not just by the love for Chopin’s music, which is apparent, but also by his music’s ability to constantly remind me of my own journey and a desire to continuously grow. I guess in many ways, it is about the “unobtainable” – the constant journey, constant wandering, constant trying, failing, at times succeeding and then again, continuing the never ending SEARCH! This search is something I have always cherished as an artist, and I sincerely hope that I will always continue this journey – as both, a musician and a human being, no matter what!
In many ways, this present Album (2 Disc Set) represents a stepping-stone. By all means, it is not an album of achievements. It is an album of search! Pieces that have long been dear to me, assembled together for the first time. Therefore, when I recorded these works, I had a very clear vision: which was not to make just a very good studio album where all is clean and tidy, NO!!! Instead, I wanted this to represent my current vision, TODAY’s vision, of these pieces. My current interpretations – performed not for a studio setting, but the way I would play them on stage! Slightly exaggerated, maybe sometimes faster in speed and with the adrenalin rush that is usually present on stage, but NOT always in a studio, and emotionally truthful and raw.
While listening to these tracks, I asked myself whether I am satisfied? The answer is, of course, NO – but am I happy with how it turned out at this stage of my journey? Absolutely YES.
I know there will be a time when I will look back and possibly criticize my interpretations, but not today. Today, I want to share with my audience and listeners how this music has affected me up to now, and how I have lived through it thus far.
LP Classics’s ”Discovering a Legend” series is continuing to explore the live performances of the brilliant Russian pianist Vera Gornostaeva. The uncovering of Vera Gornostaeva’s unique rendition of Mussorgsky’s Pictures and Rachmaninoff’s Preludes is, by all means, a true revelation. When first presented with the list of available material collected over the years, we were immediately drawn to this live recital. Instinctively, we were most certain that this was a great and inimitable performance – and it did not disappoint! Mussorgsky soars and Rachmaninoff sings in the grand tradition of piano playing that hardly exists nowadays.
First, it was recorded live at the Small Hall of the Moscow State Conservatoire on April 26th, 1959 and subsequently broadcasted live on Soviet Radio. Since then, these tapes have been quietly sitting in the storage facilities of Gosteleradiofond – State Fund of Television and Radio Programs in Moscow, Russia. Though the original reels were unfortunately lost, a copy was thankfully preserved. Of course, after 53 years of being on a shelf, it was a labor of love to bring these gems back to life and release them for the first time.
We placed this project in the hands of the amazing and incomparable, Grammy winning mastering engineer, Silas Brown, who, after peeling layer after layer of hiss and other unwanted elements, brought back to life what in our opinion is one of the most charged, fiery and poetic performances of these works. It is our privilege to introduce you to this record and we plan to continue this series with great pride.
An exciting new album of Vassily Primakov performing Live in Concert and featuring Medtner’s Sonata-Reminiscenza; Schumann’s Bunte Blatter, Op. 99; Brahms’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel and Ravel’s La Valse.
LP CLASSICS PRESENTS 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF
JEROME LOWENTHAL performing FRANZ LISZT OPERA PARAPHRASES
This collection of Liszt opera paraphrases was first issued on LP by RCA in 1981 and, until now, never released on CD. In addition to the original RCA recital, LP Classics has added three bonus items: Busoni’s Chamber Fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen, also known as Sonatina No. 6, and two skits à la Victor Borge, both titled “Little Narration of My Own,” in which Lowenthal talks about the Preludio of the Rigoletto paraphrase by narrating Verdi’s libretto and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf story, respectively.
ANTON ARENSKY – SUITES FOR TWO PIANOS, performed by Lavrova/Primakov Duo
Little known today, Anton Arensky (1861-1906) was one of the brightest stars of the late 19th century Russian music scene and was one of the most influential figures in the promotion of two-piano music. Arensky’s two-piano Suites are models of the romantic duo piano literature and like all the best examples of two-piano music, Arensky’s Suites make no compromises on the technical demands made of the performers. Anton Arensky’s influence as a pianist, a composer, a conductor and a remarkable teacher to such future luminaries as Rachmaninov, Gretchaninov and Scriabin—has earned him a place of distinction in the history of Russian music.
This release celebrates Arensky’s 150th Birth Anniversary.
DISCOVERING A LEGEND. VERA GORNOSTAEVA, Vol. I CHOPIN RECITAL
Vera Gornostaeva, is a celebrated Russian performer considered A “True Treasure” of Russian culture and has traveled extensively throughout Soviet Union with up to 100 concerts a year. Her reviewers raved about her “Gornostaeva is a natural! She has an envious control of the instrument.” “Recitals, given by Gornostaeva, are never flashy. Her playing is neither mannered nor false. She communicates the true essence of music that she delivers in the most profound way. Whether it is works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Schumann, Prokofiev or Shostakovich – there is always a great sense of knowledge, intellect and inescapable passion.”
Unfortunately, because Vera Gornostaeva never made any compromises – politically or musically, she became a persona non grata in the eyes of the Soviet Regime and despite the fact that invitations from the west kept pouring in, the permission to leave was never granted. As a result, for over twenty years Gornostaeva’s name was among those “blacklisted” and was officially deemed politically unreliable. By the time the iron curtain fell, Vera Gornostaeva, already in her 60s, decided to abandon her performing career and dedicate herself entirely to teaching and would perform only occasionally.
LP Classics is thrilled to have formed an alliance with “Gosteleradiofond”- State Fund of Television and Radio Programs in Moscow, Russia and to have discovered a great amount of well-preserved, live performances of this legendary pianist and pedagogue. These performances are from some of the most prestigious halls in Russia and none of these recorded recitals were ever released. This record will be the first glimpse into the life of a true legend and consummate artist.